Cacti is an open-source network and server monitoring/graphing tool that is great for visualizing your data along with your systems on a very basic level. It gives you the ability to poll network devices as well as track bandwidth usage and graph it very nicely.
When looking for an alternative to cacti, we'll want to ensure that we get the same functionality, if not more, out of a replacement software package. Some of the main features Cacti has that we want to ensure our replacement has include the following:
- Graphing Functionality with adjustable parameters and data for manipulating graphs
- Multiple data sources for information
- SNMP Monitoring and WMI Polling
- Templating to allow for custom graphs and information
- User management and Permissions for different user levels and types
Best Alternatives to Cacti
Below you'll find a list of suitable replacements for Cacti software that will assist you in collecting and visualizing your data with the same granularity, or better, as you could with Cacti. These alternatives will also provide you with added benefits and upgrades that will keep you systems monitored and newer OSes supported better, as many open-source projects eventually die off due to lack of support and more importantly, funding.
Solarwinds Network Performance Monitor – Free Trial
Solarwinds latest version of their Network Performance Monitor suite is an all-in-one solution that encompasses a large array of features and functionality for network, server and bandwidth monitoring. Features that include Network Topology mapping, Auto-discovery and configuration of network devices, Historical and Real-time Graphs of usage, Bandwidth Monitoring capabilities (including Netflow, Sflow, IPFix and more) make it the top contender as a replacement.
Other major Features include:
- Pre-Built and pre-packaged templates
- Automatic forecasting of network resources and hardware
- Hardware Health Alerts and Monitoring
- Multi-Vendor support built-in
- Automatic Discovery and Scanning of network components
- Critical Path analysis via NetPath
- Wireless Network monitoring
- Packet Capture and Analysis for QoE for end users
30-Day Free Trial Available for Solarwinds Network Performance Monitor along with Easy and Fast configuration, getting your network mapped and configured could take as little as 2 hrs time with their Auto Network Discovery and configuration wizard.
Free 30 Day Trial Download:
Official Site for More Information: http://www.solarwinds.com/network-performance-monitor
PRTG has been around for some time as well, and also comes with a Free version that allows you to monitor up to 100 sensors. PRTG starts to scale up from there and the pricing model is based on the amount of sensors you would like to monitor within your network. PRTG has a solid track record and has made strides in the past several years to really bring a solid product for Network and Server monitoring to the masses.
Some of the main features of PRTG include:
- Performance monitors using SNMP, SSH and WMI for Windows environments and unix/linux support
- Flow Packet Analysis (via Netflow, etc)
- Network Topology Autodiscovery via Ping/ICMP
- Network Mapping functionality
- Alerts and Warning Systems
- and much more
Official Site and Download Links/Information: https://www.paessler.com/prtg
Nagios Core and XI (Open-Source)
Nagios has been the go-to network monitoring solution for thousands of Network engineers and administrators due to its open-source nature and price-point, being that you can use the Core version of Nagios free, and the XI version which is fully-supported as an upgraded, paid alternative.
Nagios Core doesn't have quite the feature set that the paid version has, but nonetheless it will get the job done if your looking for a low-cost solution. We tend to stay away from open-source software as we're operating at higher levels than other shops and need enterprise support when the occasion does arise.
If we could give all our readers a suggestion, it would be to go with a paid solution over a non-paid version, unless you are extremely well versed with writing your own custom scripts for an open-source solution.
Some notable features of Nagios XI include:
- Configuration wizards and pre-built templates
- Nagios Core monitoring Engine
- Capacity Planning and Reporting
- View Graphs and Alerts of Network Incidents via Web GUI
- Bulk Host Importing, Auto-Discovery and Auto Decommissioning of Network devices no longer on the network
- and much more
Official Site and Download information: https://www.nagios.com/products/nagios-xi/